The Western Australian Government has taken aim at Big Tobacco on No Tobacco Day, with a focus on protecting young Australians from tobacco induced harm.
Health Minister Roger Cook is just one of many leading the charge within the state government for further controls over how tobacco is marketed to the public.
“While the fall in the number of Western Australian kids and teenagers smoking is very encouraging, we know the tobacco industry is always looking for new ways to get them hooked and make it hard for them to quit,” Mr Cook said.
Some of the ways that the government believes that the industry is using to appeal to young people are ‘squeeze’ or ‘crush’ varieties as well as fruit flavoured cigarettes that allegedly mask the taste,
“I will be raising the issue of the contents and design of tobacco products with my health colleagues in other States to look at what we can do to regulate products,” he added.
Australia has been a world leader in tobacco control measures such as plain packaging, and last year the McGowan Government introduced a raft of laws, including several specifically aimed at reducing tobacco exposure in children.
These include banning the sale of fruit and confectionery-flavoured cigarettes, and packets that can be split into smaller packs of less than 20 cigarettes to appeal to children.
From September this year, retail shop assistants under the age of 18 will not be able to sell tobacco products and Mr Cook is calling for full transparency from tobacco giants.
“Requiring full disclosure of individual cigarette ingredients has been on the national tobacco control agenda in Australia for many years, and merits further consideration.
“We cannot sit back on our laurels while we still have more than 1,500 Western Australians dying each year because they smoked, and we certainly don’t want any new generations of smokers.”